BlackBerry Limited Crushes Q1 Earnings Targets Despite Plunging Hardware Sales; Shares Soar 15%

BlackBerry CEO John Chen. Source: BlackBerry.

Shares of BlackBerry traded as much as 15% higher on Thursday morning, following the pre-market release of results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 that beat analyst estimates. This jump makes up for three months' worth of dwindling share prices.

The Canadian maker of smartphones and mobile software saw revenue fall 69% year-over-year to land at $966 million. At the same time, gross margins increased from 34% to 47%. On the bottom line, adjusted net losses stopped at $0.11 per diluted share, a 15% improvement over the year-ago period's $0.13 loss per share.

Analysts were looking for a $0.26 loss per share on $963 million in sales. BlackBerry edged past the revenue consensus and crushed the Street's earnings target.

BlackBerry shipped 1.6 million smartphones in the first quarter, down from 6.8 million in the year-ago period. Hardware sales accounted for 39% of BlackBerry revenue, down from 71% a year ago. Services now deliver the lion's share of BlackBerry's sales. Chen said 80% of BlackBerry's 50 million subscribers are business users.

Looking ahead, BlackBerry expects to deliver break-even cash flows by the end of the 2015 fiscal year. The company is off to a good start: In the first quarter, BlackBerry saw $302 million of positive operating cash flows.

"Over the past six months, we have focused on improving efficiency in all aspects of our operations to drive cost reductions and margin improvement," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a prepared statement. "We are focusing on our growth plan to enable our return to profitability."

In a conference call with analysts, Chen said, "We are getting very close to making money or at least break even on hardware. Not quite there yet, but close."

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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